Experts at digital marketing agency Inside Online have revealed online growth of 33% for the UK car hire industry since 2016. Their annual study, the Car Hire Digital Insight Report, allows industry leaders to measure their relative performance in the digital landscape. The latest study draws results from analysis of the online presence of the top 43 companies within the industry.

Global consulting and market research firm Lucintel recently predicted substantial opportunities within the car rental industry in their latest market report, stating: 'The future of the global car rental industry looks good with opportunities in the on-airport and off-airport market segment. 'The global car rental industry is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% from 2016 to 2021. The major drivers of growth for this market are rising global tourism industry, increasing globalisation of corporate operations, and increasing income levels across the globe.'

Inside Online suggest that, if Lucintel's predictions are accurate, larger car hire companies will need to maintain their strong position online while smaller firms must significantly improve their online strategies to ensure profitability. Their report, based on search metrics data, places Enterprise Rent-A-Car at the head of the market in terms of its year-on-year online visibility. They are followed by Hertz, Sixt, and Europcar. 

Notably, Indigo Car Hire saw the largest visibility increase with an improvement of 538% since 2016. Enterprise also takes the top spot for the brand most searched-for per month, followed in the top five by Holiday Autos, Europcar, Herts and Avis. The authority of a website is partly determined by the number of links pointing towards it: the greater the number of links a site has tends to correlate with its authoritativeness, which correlates with the site's visibility in search engine results pages. 

Larger brands are generally able to acquire a high number of links per month due to their organic appearance in industry news and blog pieces. Contrarily, a small brand which is able to acquire significant numbers of links per month could be pursuing aggressive and illegitimate link manipulation strategies. leads with the greatest number of linking domains at a total of 962. Car Rentals and Enterprise sit in distant second and third places.

However, the brand generating the most authoritative links (from websites with a Domain Authority between 70 and 100) is Budget, with National Car, Thrifty, Premiere Velocity and Easirent also performing well in this area.

On the other hand, when it comes to influence and engagement through social media the top-performing organisation is Sixt, followed by Hertz, Europcar, National Car and Alamo.

Hatty Scaramanga, sales and marketing manager at Inside Online, said: 'There are several emerging trends which have a direct impact on the dynamics of the car rental industry, these trends include enhanced user experience through digitisation, additional green vehicles in the fleets of rental car companies, introduction of autonomous vehicles, enhanced technologies in car rental services, and the concept of self-driving instead of hiring a driver. 'Companies must ensure their organic and digital visibility through on and offline channels as their position becomes more volatile due to the increased emergence of comparison sites and new technological advancements.'